Video Edit Magic 4.47

Planning and Shooting your Videos

Every video captured by your camcorder is a story waiting to be told.  It could be the story of your child’s first tentative steps, a typical day in your life, your daughter’s little league game, or that perfect vacation with your family.

All you need is creativity, a structured and organized plan, a little discipline and a capable video editor like Video Edit Magic.  This article aims to explain how you can adapt the basic principles of professional movie making to your home videos.


Outline:  Preproduction involves the steps you should take before shooting a video with your camcorder.  At first glance, this looks unnecessary for impromptu home videos, but it really is one of the most essential things in videography, professional or otherwise.

Serendipity can only get you a great shot every now and then.  Your videography skills will always get exposed to criticism over videos that last longer than a minute or two.  So, you need to have a plan (or at least a rough outline ).

When planning a video shoot, write down a list of shots you will need.
For example, let us consider your daughter's softball game.  You can make a checklist listing the following ‘must have’ shots.
  1. A close shot of your daughter putting on the team cap.
  2. A close up of the team list, with a slow zoom in to her name.
  3. A long shot of the park.
  4. The team practicing and warming up.
  5. Shots of the scoreboard before, during and after the game.
  6. A few shots of the crowd.
  7. A close up of the players smiling after the game.
  8. A long shot of the sun setting.
Once you have a checklist or an outline, you at least know what sort of footage is important.  An outline also helps if you have some existing footage.  It will guide you in fitting the existing footage around your concept.

Know your equipment:

As basic as it might sound, it is a good idea to explore each and every button and control of your camcorder.  Do read the user manual.  There is nothing as frustrating as missing out on a good shot due to unfamiliarity with the controls.  Know all the buttons inside out.  If you have the option to configure your camcorder to a beep on starting and stopping, then turn it on.  Take a few practice shots for zooming in and zooming out and any other special controls.


Always shoot as much content as you possibly can.  You will appreciate this habit when you edit in the post-production stage.  The content could include video footage, snapshots and sounds.  During the production, follow the suggestions below to shoot great, professional looking videos.


  1. Use a Tripod:  A steady home video is a rare achievement, even if your camcorder has an image stabilization feature.  You should mount your camcorder on a tripod whenever possible to avoid jerky-looking videos.
  2. Lighting:  Perhaps the most important aspect of video production is the lighting.  A common mistake most amateurs make is to shoot towards the sun.  Whenever possible, try to keep your back towards the sun, while keeping your shadow out of the frame.  The same principle applies while shooting indoors.  If you shoot in a bright light, then your subject might appear dark.  Try to shoot in front of backgrounds with uniform lighting to avoid bright spots or reflection.
  3. Smooth Zoom in and Zoom out:  Abrupt zoom-in and zoom-outs never look good in home videos.  Always zoom-in to and zoom out of subjects slowly.  Start by framing the subject for a second or two, then zoom in very slowly.  After completing the zoom-in, hold the camcorder on the subject for a moment before zooming out or panning away.

Other handy tips:

While shooting an event, take good shots of relevant text documents, invitation cards, banners etc.  These can prove to be useful during post production for making title slides.

Most camcorders these days come loaded with special effects.  If possible avoid the urge to apply special effects while shooting.  This is to prevent being stuck with garish looking videos which cannot be changed.  As much as possible, leave the special effects and other editing operations to the post production stage.


Post production involves organizing all your videos, editing them using software like Video Edit Magic, and then getting them out of the PC in a format appropriate for distribution.

You shoot for hours, but the actual video must hold the viewers' attention.  The art of editing is to tell the whole story in a shorter, crisp narrative, without losing anything essential.  Editing gives you a chance to play with space and time.  Videos are entertaining because they are larger than life.  They ability to create a world different from and more intriguing than the daily world people live in.  You can transport a person from one location to another.  You can move people to other places, even other worlds, using the green screen effect.

In a video production audio plays a pivotal role in telling a story.  Video Edit Magic provides you with unlimited possibilities of creating audio effects, similar to visual variations that you can bring in by applying video transitions.

The last step is selecting a distribution option for easy sharing with your family and friends.

A video can make people laugh or cry.  A story told by video can grab the audience and refuse to let them go.  Using the techniques described in this article, and Video Edit Magic, you can create your own video masterpiece.  When people see the final product they will refuse to believe that you are not a professional movie-maker!

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